Google Wants Us to Think Again About How We Do Our SEO

Google Wants Us to Think Again About How We Do Our SEO

By Obaid Chawla Posted in SEO On Mar 20, 2017

Since the advent of Google and its absolute dominance on the web, marketers have delved deep into Google’s search algorithms and tried to understand how a particular page or website can be ranked higher on search engine results. This whole thing transformed into something that we now call search engine optimization.

Every online business and many offline ones duly understand its importance in making their companies and brands gain more and more visibility and in turn drive sales and conversions. And over time, we started developing a systematic methodology of how SEO should be done and how it shouldn’t be done.

Even with Google’s regular updates like Panda and Penguin that caused major upheavals in the Google rankings every time they were incorporated into the complex algorithm which drives the Google search engines and ranks pages according to set criteria, not much changed in terms of the manner in which SEO has been done. But from now onwards, things wouldn’t be the same. Google’s algorithm has shifted from being a representation of static SEO rules. And that is where SEO marketers would need to figure out their craft wholly once again.

Artificial Intelligence is quite a misunderstood concept. It isn’t just about mimicking the human brain. For that we have our own brains. Artificial intelligence is being created to do what our own mind can’t accomplish. It’s not about surpassing the human mind in absolute capability, it’s about creating an alternate intelligence based on a similar wiring concept that the human brain follows. It’s just putting a similar machine down to different use. That is exactly what Google is doing.

Google’s search engine is there to bring back the most relevant results to the user and Google’s primary aim is to keep the results as useful as they can get but its manually coded search algorithms were being used to get the best rankings for websites and pages. The ones doing SEO started understanding how it worked and they started making sure that the results were according to their liking and not to the user’s. Every update intended to neutralize the advantage SEOs had over the search engine was dealt with. Google needed to make sure that the user remains prioritized, so for the first time, it incorporated artificial intelligence into its search algorithm.

This new change augments itself in the manner that uses a different set of algorithms for each search query based on “What it learns” is relevant in each specific keyword category. This single update has the potential to change the way we look at Search Engine Optimization entirely. Let’s help you understand this with an example.

For e.g. you are a general user using Google to search “Best Shoes in Kansas City” and then you search “Why is the sky blue and not red”. These are both unique search queries despite sharing the common phenotype of keywords. Google’s search algorithm using AI would now treat each query differently and use different mixes of algorithms and signals to provide results for each one; so an SEO marketer who probably has a Shoe Business in Kansas City and also a science knowledge website to optimize, would know need to treat each keyword differently and treat it as a different vertical altogether. The previously applicable macro level approach where a single strategy would suffice for optimizing a multitude of Keywords would just not work now.

Things have changed and they changed quite fast for optimizers to keep up and probably understand because with an artificially intelligent system it’s hard to create rules and guidelines to abide by. Artificial Intelligence “Learns” to do things all by itself and not even the experts who created it can predict how it would react in a certain situation with a high degree of certainty. However, all is not lost and professional SEO companies can certainly still stay viable but with a major tweak in how they consider things would get done from now onwards.

To get going again in the SEO sphere, you need to have specific models for every field to see how each change is undergoing a paradigm shift and where it stands now and how it functions. A greater way and probably the one which will be used more aggressively, this might require a lot of meticulous work but it will work to a high extent. Until now, only RankBrain, one of Google’s set of more than 200 ranking signals, is using machine learning to forward its result to the search engine queries. The rest remain as they were but there is a strong possibility that the whole system would go through a similar change. To prepare for the future, we definitely need a Google Sandbox of sorts, where we can have the model predict on similar lines on how Google’s AI ranking signals would function. But for now, sticking to the old basics might be a recipe for disaster. Start changing your SEO strategy today.